Friday, March 9, 2012

Watercolor Memories


A few sheets of aged, thick watercolor paper sitting at the back of my closet for years…carefully preserved, but not being shared…


On my mind, the sheets of paper were pulled out, shown to my daughters…and loved.

Three pieces painted by my grandmother, LaPriel,  in the early 1950’s….


My dear aunt, her daughter, remembers that she took a few classes with her sister.  They were outdoor classes taught locally, and she loved them.


The desert landscapes of her beloved Arizona, pine-covered mountains, an old barn…these were the things she practiced on...


My favorite—her color wheel, complete with the colors written out in her lovely hand…


They will now be framed…I love them dearly.  No more dark, hidden closets for these works of art…


Are they masterpieces?  No.  But they were painted by the hand of one that I love and have always missed.  LaPriel passed away not too very long after these would have been painted, when I was only three years old. 

Anything that her hands touched—and heart loved—are treasures to me…


Along with the few painted pieces were two blank pieces of the same thick, aged watercolor paper…a thought came into my mind…


Quickly cutting one of those blank sheets to fit (before I changed my mind!), I used it as the background for my newest family story page, made this week…

DSC08345_edited-1 {beautiful, vintage background prints, photo corners & tag from Crafty Secrets’ “Creating with Vintage Patterns” CD}

Feeling inspired—by my grandmother’s paintings, a beautiful sunny day and my three daughters heading out to the back yard to paint—I joined them.

DSC08185_edited-1 {yep—this is the view behind my house—not bad, is it?!}

Now, I’m no painter—I know this very well.  But there was something so very soothing, so very satisfying…so very connecting in the doing of it, that I just smiled and smiled…


…and my canvas?  The rest of the piece of watercolor paper saved by my grandmother…

DSC08384_edited-1 {my attempt at the beautiful blue sky today on LaPriel’s piece of watercolor paper…}

Is it a masterpiece?  No.  Not even a little bit!  But I did it with my own hand, inspired by one that tried the same thing on sunny days many years ago, and I’m sure she smiled while she painted, too…

DSC08387_edited-1 {a close-up of my very impressionistic hills…don’t worry, I won’t make you look at the whole thing!}

And maybe—just maybe—one day in future years, one of my granddaughters will pull my little painting out of a spot in the back of a closet…and love it simply because I smiled and painted one lovely, sunny day…………….


See you soon with something new…



  1. I'm so happy that you brought the paintings by your grandmother, LaPriel, into the light to be appreciated. It's truly wonderful that you have them to treasure.
    I imagine that your grandmother would be smiling knowing that she'd inspired you to paint.
    That's some view Julie...and needs to be painted. I think you underestimate your ability because the sky and mountains that you allow us to peek at look great. Why don't you let us see the whole painting? Be brave! :D

  2. Oh what a beautiful post. My Grandmother painted as well. I love your grandmothers first name. So glad I found your blog, have a great weekend.

  3. Amazing. I love how you put the pallet on the page. That is a view I would have a hard time leaving and going back inside. Wonderful memories and what a gorgeous first name. Smiles...Renee

  4. Julie this was a WONDERFUL post! I feel like I got to know your Grandmother a little bit...what special memories you have of her. Your painting is something I bet your girls will treasure forever just as you are your Grandmother's. Yes indeed the view from your back yard is VERY good :) I LOVE your scrapbook work and it is my inspiration. I haven't started back at it yet...but when I do I will go to your Blog and look for more inspiration there. Thank you.
    Maura :)

  5. All I can say is i dearly wish I had a Julie in my family!!

  6. Absolutely fantastically amazing! You have the greatest most well-preserved family treasures of anyone I've ever known. So glad these paintings are now seeing the light of day and will be framed to be enjoyed by all. I'm sure your grandma is smiling down on you, especially when you attempt to paint just as she did. Wishing you a wonderful weekend. Tammy

  7. Julie, what a wonderful tribute to your grandmother! Telling her story and sharing her artwork, allows her creativity to continue to inspire each of us and make the work a little bit more beautiful. You have given your children a gift that will last a lifetime for future generations to enjoy and cherish!
    Happy Creating!

  8. For sure you need to have those framed!!
    and btw...I love the view from your backyard.

  9. I use to do some watercoloring, but have not done it in years. It is truly one of the harder mediums, because you can't fix some mistakes, like you can fix with other paints. I am happy that you got to experience something that your grandmother loved.

  10. Oh Julie,
    Again, another piece of your ancestry...I know I say it every time but you are the most fortunate descendant !!!! :):) What a view out your backyard....WOW! For sure not here in Arizona!

  11. Hi Julie!!! Oh How I have missed the Blog World! Loved seeing your comment on my post today! Made me smile really big! Life DOES get busy does it not!! I have a senior this year and boy oh boy it is a whirlwind for sure! So many activities and oh so many emotions tied up with it all! I hope you have a blessed day and I see you needed some color too! LOVE LOVE LOVE the paintings you posted up and well for whatever it's worth I think they are masterpieces!

  12. hi THIS IS a masterpiece..really :) I am always thrilled when u comment on my blog- tyou and I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post here today...tfs hugs, Jane

  13. Hi Julie,
    I have not blogged much lately as I am very sick...I just went to Suz blog and realized that Jud passed away and I am so sorry to hear it. I tried to leave Suz a message and tried to email her, but my letters are coming back as undeliverable...If possible, could you please let her know that I am so sorry to hear of her loss and that I send love her way? I would really appreciate it.

  14. Good morning, JULIE!

    Oh this is a sweet post, as I am reminded of my momma's paintings. Not masterpieces by any means, but her sweet spirit CAME THROUGH her work. Unfortunately with all of my moves around the country, one in particular piece was lost forever. It was may favorite, but I suppose it is meant to be to be lost. Whenever I would look at it, I would weep!!! You are so fortunate to have this wonderful memory of a beautiful woman who was your grandmother. HOW STUNNING! And your view from your home is LOVELY!! Thank you Julie, for your visit and kind spirit. HAPPY SUNDAY! Anita

  15. I love L's paintings and
    I hope that you frame the
    color wheel, too ~ so sweet!
    You truly are an artist, Julie,
    with all of your beautifully
    {and lovingly} created pages.
    I have no doubt that if you set
    out to do watercolors ~ or any
    other type of art ~ you would
    master it : )

    Happy Sunday,
    xx Suzanne

  16. That was another beautiful tribute page Julie and I'm sure someone will pull out your sweet painting and love it because it was done by you.
    I love it already and moreso because it was done by you!

  17. Another beautiful post Julie. I love reading about your family and I love the way you chose to create beautiful scrap book pages of your family stories. I think they are just wonderful. You are so very blessed to have the information that you do and the photographs and momentos. Love and hugs coming from the UK and an early Spring! xxoo

  18. Oh lovely - watercolors are so beautiful - and forgiving - your aunts picture are lovely - AND so are YOURS! I think you should pursue this!!
    Mary x

  19. Hi Julie,
    I'm so glad I stumbled upon your lovely blog. You are a very talented painter. I enjoy painting as well, just do not have the time or studio yet. Anyway, I wanted to tell you that as soon as I saw the pic where you said that this was your view from your house, I had to take a double take because I quickly realized that it resembled a beautiful mountain hillside in my home state of Morgan Hill, California! I grew up there and was born in Salinas. What a small world right!
    Have a nice day,
    ~ Stephanie

  20. Julie, I got chills when I was reading your post. To be able to inspire loved one so many years later by the art she created is what its all about.
    I Love the page you created for her. Using a paintbrush is the perfect finishing touch.
    What a beautiful way to celebrate her life, taking up where she left off.
    Hugs Lynn

  21. I love it all my friend. What an uplifting post! I'm totally moved that someone who so loved what they did continues to spire others to press on.


  22. You my dear are multi it. What a wonderful amaze me. Hugs to you.

  23. Julie, I love looking at all of your boards on pinterest, amazing pins you have! Marilyn McIldoon

  24. Julie,
    This is lovely! I wish you could adopt me! What a wonderful family!
    Big hugs and huge thanks for your support.

  25. I've taken a watercolor class but I'm not very good at it. But I love watercolor paintings so much. Your paintings are extra special since they came from your grandma. Mimi

  26. Sweet post! What talents have been handed down to you Julie! You are adored my friend!


  27. Dear Julie,
    You and I have been busy on Pinterest!!! I love seeing you there and the beautiful things you pin. My you find such unusual things and I love them.
    Most important, thank you for all the kind support you have given me this year. From notes on my blog to offer to visit in California, you have been so good to me. Your soul has really come shining through in a very special way. I so wish I could have met you in person but I have a feeling that will happen sometime. I am ever so grateful for your kindness and generosity of spirit. I am doing pretty well. I think I am so glad that Jud is not suffering. The last month was pretty hard to watch. And I know I will see him again some day. That comforts me.
    Sending you love and thanks,

  28. What a wonderful story. I smiled while I read and I love the page you made to remind you just beautiful the adding of a pint brush was inspired Love Dawn xx